SPECIES: Bettongia penicillata ogilbyi — Woylie
What's happened to the Woylie? This furry little mini Kangaroo, AKA the Brush-tailed Bettong was hopping about over WA, SA and NSW as recently as the 2000's. Population numbers have gone from a healthy 220,000+ down to a best estimate of 20,000 still surviving. That's astonishing. The species has literally been wiped out by up to 95% and it's decline put down to the destruction caused by feral cats and disease and habitat destruction. It is only now, when the species is on the brink of extinction, that we are realising the importance of it within the ecosystem. Like other Bettong species, the Woylie is a budding eco-engineer. The Woylie plays a vital part by spreading spores and seeds as it digs and scratches around on the ground. Genius.
Photo: © Jiri Lochman, Lochman Transparencies